‘AICF matter sub judice’, Raja camp tells no to Fide mediation

Chennai, April 24 (IANS) Global chess body Fide’s proposal for the smooth running of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) till the elections are held has become a non-starter with one of the warring factions declining the idea.

“We were in receipt of Fide’s proposal. We have politely declined the idea saying that only elections for the Indian chess body are pending and the matter is sub judice. It will be contempt of court going for other modes of resolution,” R.N. Dongre, President, Fide Zone 3.7, told IANS on Friday.

The AICF is split into two factions — one headed by President P.R. Venketrama Raja and the other by Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan. Dongre is part of the Raja camp.

The Fide on April 17 had written to both the warring parties, expressing concern at the ongoing tussle, and suggested the formation of a committee to run the day-to-day affairs of the AICF.

According to Fide, Chauhan and Raja have to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a five-member committee comprising themselves or their nominees, a nominee from the Central government and a famous and respected male and female chess player.

“I had sent my consent to Fide soon after the proposal was received. I had also suggested the names of the chess players, based on their Elo ratings, who can be part of the five-member committee,” Chauhan said.

Dongre said Raja is more interested in facing the elections at the earliest which is getting delayed due to the nationwide lockdown in place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Queried about online elections as the number of voters eligible to vote is not large, Dongre said: “The AICF rules do not have any provision for online elections. First the rules have to be amended.”

Incidentally, on April 22, the members belonging to Chauhan’s faction had called and held an online special/extraordinary general body meeting of AICF and took various decisions.

At the online general body meeting, 24 states were represented and there were 44 members in all who attended through an online audio/video conference via ZOOM, and it took place without a glitch.

The general body had welcomed the Fide’s mediation efforts.

Taking Fide’s resolution idea, the general body appointed a five-member committee (Vipnesh Bhardwaj as President, Naresh Sharma as Secretary and three members — Bhavesh Patel, International Master Neeraj Mishra and woman International Master Bhagyashree Thipsay) to run the day-to-day affairs of AICF.

“Fide’s proposal was positive for the players as they will have a say in the running of AICF,” Grand Master Abhijit Kunte told IANS.